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July 28, 2018

Refuel with God’s Grace and Joy Throughout the Journey of Church Multiplication

By Ed Stetzer

The journey of mission, and thus of movemental Christianity and multiplication, is like that of a life-long roller coaster. There will be moments where you feel as though you and your church are atop the mountain basking in the glory of God’s grace—praising Him for moving so powerfully. And then, seemingly just a few moments later, you’ll realize you plummeted from the summit and are struggling to unite and move the church forward in mission.

Whether you are atop the summit, in the depths of the valley, or in the barren land of the desert, it will be vital for you personally (and the church corporately) to refuel your spirit with God’s great grace and His abundant joy as you move through the journey of movemental Christianity and becoming a Level Five multiplying church.

Throughout Scripture, those who participated in the mission of God always faced opposition and hardships. Take Paul for instance. Paul provided a list of all his difficulties in ministry and even noted that he had a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 11,12). But, in the midst of difficulties and experiencing a thorn in the flesh Paul shared that God spoke to him and said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:8, 10). In the storm of difficulties and hardships God’s grace was the peace agent that calmed the heart of Paul and moved him onward in mission. That same grace can and will encourage you when you face difficulties in your journey of multiplication.

In addition to refueling with God’s grace, it’s important that you be filled with His joy and His happiness. I understand that it’s easier to be joyful when all is well versus when all hell is breaking loose. Yet, James exhorts us to, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:2-3). Why should we choose to be joyful and to be happy in the midst of difficulties? Because it is in those moments God is shaping us and modeling us into the people He desires us to be. Paul puts it this way in Romans, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son…” (Rom. 8:28–29). Because God is doing a work in us—conforming us into the image of Jesus—as we face “all” sorts of things, we can refuel our spirits with God’s abundant joy knowing that what He is doing in us will eventually come out through us. Thus, the “joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Neh. 8:10).

Are you hoping to begin the journey towards movemental Christianity and becoming a Level Five multiplying church? Are you in the journey, but facing some difficulties? Are you at the top of your game? Remember that what God has showed you and put inside of you at the moment of salvation is His grace and joy. May these elements refuel you constantly as you press onward in His mission.

*This article is an excerpt from Multiplication Today, Movements Tomorrow that I wrote with Daniel Im. Download the e-book for free or purchase hard copies of this book here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer (@edstetzer), is a professor and dean at Wheaton College who also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is regional director for Lausanne North America and publishes research through Mission Group. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited in, interviewed by, and writes for news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He is the founding editor of The Gospel Project, a curriculum used by more than 1.7 million individuals each week for bible study. His national radio show, Ed Stetzer Live, airs Saturdays across the country. He serves as teaching pastor at Highpoint Church in Chicago and has been the interim teaching pastor at Moody Church in downtown Chicago.

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